There is trash around the Cooper Stadium property, it’s overgrown, and the sign is falling apart.
“Looking at it right now as ghostly as it seems is kind of depressing,” Walter Secreto said.
Secreto lives close to the stadium and used to take his kids there for Columbus Clippers’ games. The stadium was home to the Clippers until 2008.
“I actually caught a ball here years ago, gave it to my son, he still has it,” Secreto said.
Good times like those at Cooper Stadium haven’t happened in about 15 years. However, they could be making a comeback. The current owner, Sports Pavilion and Automotive Research Complex (SPARC) Holding, whose parent company is Arshot Investment, bought the property in 2012. It originally planned to make it into a racetrack and automobile research center.
“What had been the zoning for that particular site for a long time had been the holdover from the previous proposal,” said Rob Dorans, City Council President Pro Tem and Chair of the Zoning Committee. “It’s been years since that project has made any significant progress.”
A zoning change was approved Monday evening giving more flexibility to the owner.
“At the end of the day when you think about what has happened on that parcel and really see it deteriorate for as long as it has and again the historical context of what it is, I think folks in that neighborhood deserve to have something better in their community,” Dorans said.
New plans from the owner include apartments, retail and office space, and an outdoor amphitheater.
“I’m hopeful that the very fact we’re seeing redevelopment plans move forward and the fact they’re asking for a rezoning and variance application that allows for more uses on the property, that hopefully it’ll kickstart something to happen on that property, Dorans said.
Secreto said he hopes whatever ends up happening is a homerun.
“Hopefully we have a better west side, we could use it,” he said.